It’s finally here: Power of a Smile Day (June 15th)! Did you even know there was such a thing? While I know you all practice your smiling skills every day, today we should all be especially conscious of our smiles. Maybe take this day to hand out a happy note or two at the same time!

Here are a 6 fun smile facts:

#1 Smiling releases endorphins. These endorphins relieve stress and help you feel better.

#2 Smiling is known as an expression of happiness and acceptance across all cultures.

#3 Smiling is contagious. A Swedish study found that people had trouble frowning when they looked at other people who were smiling. Their muscles twitched into smiling on their own!

#4 Babies start smiling in their sleep as soon as they’re born. Smiling is something that comes naturally and isn’t learned.

#5 Smiling can reduce your blood pressure. Researchers found…

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After some tumultuous weather here in New York, we were rewarded with a glorious weekend, and I made sure to make the most of it with some wonderful, Simple Pleasures.

Saturday was a day well spent in the gardens; cleaning out some weeds taller than me in my lily patch, trimming and fussing over the bushes and of course, moving a few items that no longer fit where they were planted. (My husband likes to remind me that planting with velcro would be a sensible option). I worked outside all day in the abundant sunshine, and feeling that the day was a good and productive one, I felt that good tired that comes with making my gardens more beautiful.

But Saturday night was the cherry on top. The assisted living facility where my father lives hosted their “Senior Prom”. The name alone brings a smile to my face. There was good food, fabulous decorations of twinkle lights and scenes from NYC, and a great band that played a terrific array of dance tunes.

Now you would think that a facility that houses mostly infirm and Alzheimer’s patients would have quite a job creating a party atmosphere, but I’m here to tell you that these folks may not remember what you said a minute ago, but they sure know how to party! My dad and I danced to practically every song. The man never missed a step. He was always a fantastic dancer, and somehow, in spite of his confusion about day to day stuff, he remembered every word to every song, and can still cut a mean rug. I’m talking roughly two hours of solid dancing waltzes, the Lindy hop and even a bit of disco. My mom actually danced with him for a few minutes until she was breathless with joy.

To see and feel the utter delight in his eyes was something I cannot describe with words, and it’s something I will carry with me always. And although he probably has no recollection of it today, we had the moment (or moments-two hours!) and that’s what really matters. I hope that special evening will stay in his heart forever.

Sunday was another incredible day with temps in the upper seventies and lots of sunshine. It cried out for a paddle, and so I met up with a friend in Oyster Bay and we kayaked for four hours, meandering and exploring that exquisite cove. We don’t see each other often, but when we do, it’s like we saw each other yesterday. The conversation is picked up wherever we left off, and there is a comfortable, relaxed feel to our visits. It’s one of my favorite pastimes, paddling with my friend, and on a day like today, it just doesn’t get better than that.

The added bonus to this amazing weekend was coming home to a delicious meal made by my husband, and the welcome home frenzy from my animals. I’m always so tickled to be met at the door by their exuberant greetings, each one telling me what happened while I was gone. Lots of petting and kisses ensue to be finished off with a nice walk with my dog, and I am feeling that good tired again, grateful for a weekend spent outdoors, with family and friends, a happy dog and two cats weaving in and out of my legs.

I ask you, what more could anyone want?

I love this quote! Thank you!

Can we do this? Whaddya say, shall we?

Happy Note a Day ChallengeWhat’s better than spreading happiness and brightening someone else’s day? For the month of June, I am challenging you to write a note to someone every day letting that person know how much you appreciate him or her. You can write the note to the same people or you can mix it up. The notes can be given to friends, family members, co-workers, acquaintances, strangers, etc. Post a picture or write a comment on the challenge page on ChallengeLoop every time you write a note. This is a great way for us all to connect, share ideas and spread the happiness! If you miss a few days, no big deal. The winner only has to post 8 times to be eligible to win. Sign up here: http://www.challengeloop.com/challenge/happy-note-a-day.

Happy Notes

You can use any notes you want, but if you want some “official” happy notes, sign up to be a Happster here…

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Pirate's Cove

 

What a weekend we had here in NY. Sunshine, crystal clear skies and temps in the sixties. Ahhh- it just doesn’t get better than that.

I spent most of the weekend potzing around in my gardens. (I’m not sure if “potzing” is a word, but it works for me.) I moved a few things that outgrew their space, weeded and cleaned up the last of the leaves left over from last fall, cleaned the fence and railings, touched up the paint on some pots and such, and did the first mow of the season. I ask you, is there anything in the world as wonderful as the smell of newly mowed grass?

Suddenly, the gardens are splashed with a gorgeous pallet of greens; the pale yellow/green of a new hosta to the speckled deep dark emerald of the Acuba. The maples are starting to leaf and are working hard to create their canopy over my back yard. The pink and white Dogwoods have started to bloom, and the way they dapple the woods with their delicate lacy blossoms, I can see where the impressionists got their inspiration.

I can get lost for days outside when spring finally arrives full tilt.

We got the fig trees out from the garage (all 17 of them! – my husband’s passion) after their long winter rest and got them fertilized and set up with a drip system for watering.The infant sized fig leaves are just adorable, and it’s incredible to think that within a month, they’ll be the size of baseball mitts. No wonder Adam and Eve accessorized with them.

To round out this perfect weekend, I took my kayak out for its maiden run. I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day on the water, especially since the only boats were the Port Jefferson ferry, a fisherman in a small skiff and me. The water was like glass, and I glided through the harbor toward the sound with little effort. The winds stayed down for me, and when I reached the mouth of Long Island Sound, I beached my boat and took a long walk to the buoy. I’m a collector as I walk, and I’m always amused at just what washes up.  I found six heart shaped rocks for a friend that saves them in a jar and a couple of pieces of pretty sea glass. If I wanted a head of cabbage I could have had one (yes there was a whole head on the beach) but opted to leave it, and left the assortment of tennis balls for the next dog that came along. The trip back was just as exquisite as the paddle out, and the saying about life not being a destination but a journey rattled around in my head. If all of life could be such a beautiful journey, wouldn’t it be grand? Now there’s something to aspire to.

All in all, this was truly a simply abundant weekend. I didn’t spend a penny and received so many gifts for which I am truly grateful.

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Sometimes I just need to look further than my nose to find gratitude.

I have had some news, not necessarily bad, mind you, but the kind of news that maybe I didn’t want to hear.

My third book in The Grace Series is not going to be published.

Sales were not as good as my publisher (or I) had hoped, so I guess they figured “what’s the point?” I understand where they are coming from. They are in the business of making money, after all. My books are feel good fiction; and apparently not quite the genre that sells.

There are a lot of contributing factors to this. I’m not very good at self promotion and perhaps the timing is off a bit since I have so many other obligations at this point in my life. Like everyone, time is a valuable commodity, and there are only so many hours in a day. I’m not making excuses, mind you, but merely stating the facts as they stand right now. And now that I’m over the initial shock ( tears, stomach churning and resignation) I realize just how much I have to be grateful for.

If Amanda and Janine hadn’t taken a chance with me, I would not have had two books published. Their patience, persistence and belief in me went way beyond what I could have ever dreamed of. The books were well received with great reviews and had some sales, but not near enough to warrant publishing the third and final book in the series. But suddenly, that’s okay.  The idea that I am now free to explore other avenues has stirred an excitement in me that I can’t quite put my finger on. I’m going to look into ways to give it away for free to those who want to read it, and it will be my way of saying thanks to all the wonderful friends and family who have supported me. You know who you are, and I couldn’t have done any of it without you.

So now that the pity party is over and I can finally see past my nose, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to have a dream fulfilled, and I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for your love and support.

Please visit my website: http://www.diannegreco.com if you would like to read the first chapters of In the Hands of Grace and In the Heart of Grace. If you have already read them and would like to read the third and final book; In the Home of Grace, please send an e-mail, and I will let you know when it will be available for free. Contact info is on the website.

It’s been a wonderful ride, and I am eternally grateful.

Thank you.